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Outdoor switch plate options?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by klkanders, May 10, 2009.

  1. klkanders

    klkanders LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 848

    I am looking for ideas on what could be used for switching or controlling 3 lights (All 3 on or off) I will be installing up in the structure of a pergola. I would like to expand a switch box that already exists which controls a couple coach style 120 volt fixtures. The electrician used the typical single box and outdoor switch plate cover which is functional but the client does not like much. This switch is mounted in a boxed out wood column that I would like to disassemble on one side to rout my cable through.

    I know a picture would have been better along with my explanation. I will see If I can get one taken. Do any of you have any suggestions or pictures of any other outdoor switching applications?

    I have used the Zane dimmer before and am considering that as an option as well.

  2. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 751

    Im sorry I cant understand what you are talking about. A picture would be great. If the switch is the problem how about wireless.... ABT?
  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Kieth you lost me a bit. Are you looking to switch on and off 3 low voltage fixtures on the low voltage side or are you looking to control a 120v source feeding a transformer ?

    A regular toggle switch and a red dot cover would work in your application. If you are adding these 3 fixtures then consider a small electronic trans and switch.

    If these are existing fixtures and you want to control the low voltage side just run the 12v to the switch and use the red dot cover.

    Other options would be ABT and control that run of the trans on the low voltage side or UPB and control the line voltage feeding an independant transformer.

    Pictures pictures!!! or at least provide some more info on the scenario.
  4. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    We have used regular 120 volt switches for 12 volt many times, usually for deck lighting, just used an outdoor grey metal box, silicone sealed the wire entry and supplied foam gasket/switch cover with a "15 way" clear or metal bubble cover typically used to cover outlets outside for an "in use", or when you leave the cord plugged in. you can usually buy a kit that has the box, 1/2 inch screw in knockouts, the bubble cover and switchplate and all you neeed at home depot or lowes. You may need to buy a 20 amp switch for about 50 cents.

    you cannot exceed the amp rating though, and 3 lights sound like a breeze, even if it is 3 x 50 watts at 12 volts. That would be 150/12=12.5 amps. most 120 volt switches are 15 or 20 amp rated.

    the other way, when you go through switching on the 120 volt side for a trans, you gotta use a master electrician around here.
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    David. Instead of the bubble cover which can easily be broken off try either a flip cover or a red dot outdoor toggle cover.
  6. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    Looked at the "red dot", I think i've used them, both metal and clear. when I say bubble, I meant that style. perhaps the name brand red dot is best?
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

  8. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    If you do not want to enlarge the single gang switch box to accomodate another switch for the 3 LV fixtures you can use a 'dulpex toggle' switch that will control both loads in the single gang box.

    When using 120V switches on LV circuits I usually always go with a 20A unit just to be on the safe side. I also use 12ga (yellow) hook terminals to make the connection on the switch lugs. Hubble makes a nice outdoor/marine 20A toggle switch for these applications.

    Best of luck
  9. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Red dot makes a cover like James is talking about too. If my memory serves right you cannot combine 12v and 120v in the same box but I could be wrong there. Its not a practice I have ever used or plan to so make sure you check before doing so if your application would call for it.
  10. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    Not a big fan of the exposed metal switch that engages a switch underneath. I like the metal lift cover with switches under the best. Just my opinion though.

    Never mixed 120 and 12 in the same switch box, but then, look in a trans !

    I use LV cable when doing low voltage switches. The yellow solid 12g would make hooks better, but I usually just twist and never had one not connect. I also think an errant electrician seeing my switch will be immediately on notice upon seeing the LV cable. I'm scared if he found solid he might get funky ideas about things "wrong" with the switch.

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